Gordon Sondland, the American diplomat and businessman who in November 2019 testified as a witness at the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, is fighting to save his hotel business from going under due to losses experienced during government-mandated shutdowns to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Oregon Live.
Last month, Aspen Lodging Group, the parent company of Provenance Hotels, a chain of boutique hotels owned by Sondland, filed a filed a breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer, Affiliated FM Insurance Co., in King County Superior Court in Seattle.
Provenance Hotels, with locations across Washington, Oregon and California, and in tourist-heavy cities like New Orleans, Boston and Nashville, reportedly lost about $7 million in revenues due to state-ordered closures and restrictions. The company filed a claim on its business interruption insurance with Affiliated FM to cover payroll and other operating expenses, only to be told that the damage COVID-19 wreaked on businesses was not covered under their plan.
Business interruption insurance is a part of a business owner’s insurance policy. It covers payroll, bills, and other operating expenses in the event a business must close due to a disaster, such as a fire or tornado. Businesses across the country forced to temporarily shutter in an effort to quell the spread of the pandemic have filed claims against their insurers only to receive similar rejections.
While the gradual lifting of restricts is giving restaurants, bars, salons, and hotels hope of some form of recovery, small businesses are still shouldering an estimated $255 billion to $431 billion a month in losses, according to a national insurance industry trade group. Many have filed lawsuits or proposed class actions against their insurance companies. Lawmakers in some states have threatened to force insurers to pay up if they don’t try to make some sort of amends.
Beasley Allen is actively pursuing cases with clients whose insurance companies denied their business interruption claims. Dee Miles, Head of our Consumer Fraud Section, Rachel Boyd and Paul Evans are spearheading this litigation for our firm. They would like to talk to you about any potential claims.